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Captain Beefheart - The Legendary A&M Sessions CD (album) cover


Captain Beefheart


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3 stars Recorded in 1966 for A&M, these songs - two sings, with their B-sides, and the previously unreleased Here I Am I Always Am seem to have been crafted with one purpose in mind - to establish Beefheart as a blues vocalist on a par with his hero, Howlin' Wolf. Musically speaking the backing is pretty bland - fairly standard blues-rock of a mid-1960s vintage - but the Beefheart roar is in full effect and a few strange touches here and there - particularly on "Moonchild" (actually composed by producer David Gates, but somehow it feels like the most Beefheartian song on here) - give hints to the full-out crazed approach which would be taken on "Safe As Milk".

We're only dealing with a prototype of the Magic Band here, of which only the rhythm section would survive to record the first full album, but if you're a Beefheart fan you'll probably be interested in these straight blues songs from a talent more associated with stranger fare. It's a very brief EP, so I'd only check it out if you can get it for a decent price, but anyone interested in Beefheart's pre-Trout Mask work will find value here, and if you're into mid-1960s blues-rock it can't hurt to give it a try. Beefheart's own compositions, such as "Frying Pan", manage to fit that mould quite well, and it's interesting to consider what might have been if he'd stuck with this musical direction... but then again, think of what we'd lost as well.

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Posted Monday, May 9, 2011 | Review Permalink

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